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review 2018-09-10 20:20
Halloween Bingo 2018 - Modern Masters of Horror
Slade House: A Novel - David Mitchell

'Slade House' by David Mitchell

 

I've been keeping my eye on this one for a long time, it had an intriguing premise, but I was not expecting what this book delivered. I thought this book would be a more traditional haunted house story mashed with the party game 'Sardines'. This was pretty cool, though.

 

Slade House is revealed through chronological point-of-views from various victims starting the the late 1970s and continuing to the present day. Every nine years the back garden door to Slade House appears in an alley and a new guest is lured in. The nature of the house, the 'magic' involved, the deconstructed fairy-tale elements, and the villains were great.

 

Mitchell does a good job of keeping his various character's voices distinct. With each perspective more of the history of the house is revealed, too. I learned in the afterword that 'Slade House' was originally released in a series of tweets, the pace of the story dictated by the author in a unique way.

 

The book suffers a little from repetition, but is genuinely creepy. You feel for these characters and it was hard for me to put the book down and return to the real world. Also

is there a sequel coming?! It works as is, but come ON.

(spoiler show)

 

I haven't read anything else from Mitchell, but I'd be willing to try them out.

 

 

I could have argued this into a few other categories, but I have some things in mind for those more specific boxes.

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review 2018-09-10 19:55
Halloween Bingo 2018 - Cryptozoologist
Oblivion Song - Robert Kirkman,Lorenzo De Felici

'Oblivion Song, Chapter 1' by Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici

 

I don't know why I chose the shortest possible book for my Bingo pre-read, but there you go.

 

'Oblivion Song' is a new comic series by Robert Kirkman ('Walking Dead') that puts us in Philadelphia ten years after an unexplained phenomena wiped out a huge portion of the city, replacing it with horrific monsters and alien vegetation. 300,000 people vanished with the land. The monsters were defeated and the plants died, leaving a barren wasteland that the government built a wall around as a precaution.

 

It was soon discovered that the 300,000 were not dead, they were somewhere else. A scientist, driven by the loss of his brother, figured out the frequency to go to that other place and endeavored to bring back as many people as he could find. The government supported him and his team, but after many years, have shut down the program. Nathan Cole refuses to give up on his brother, making solo expeditions to Oblivion, avoiding the deadly creatures and rescuing those he finds.

 

The art is vivid, and the story hooked me right in. This is a promising start to a great series.

 

Oblivion Song

 

Next: ?

 

 

While 'Oblivion Song' hasn't gotten into the biology of the creatures of the zone, Nathan Cole expresses compassion for them, even objecting to their being killed out of hand. The alien landscape and its native inhabitants is an essential part of the series.

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review 2018-08-13 05:47
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

A dark-tinged fantasy reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, the bleaker stories of Diana Wynne Jones, and John Connelly. I'm going to read that every time, but even better, this one is good, too!

'The Hazel Wood' feels fresh as its plot spirals its characters in what could have been well-charted territory in less-capable hands. This is being pegged as a teen novel, but I see opportunities with adult readers as well.

 

Alice has spent most of her life on the road with her mother. She remembers the books she read better than the towns and apartments they've left behind. When her mother finally decides to settle down, shortly after they hear of the death of her mother's mother, Alice's mysterious grandmother who is a reclusive author, it seems like Alice can start living a normal life.

 

That doesn't happen. The book goes through some strange territory and there's a twist or two that knocks some points off of the top, but this was solid and entertaining.

 

A longer review of this got lost somewhere in my transition to this site, oh well.

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review 2018-08-06 04:30
Wheel of Time Reread Books 7-9 by Leigh Butler
Wheel of Time Reread: Books 7-9 - Leigh Butler

Butler's commentary continues to entertain and inform me on my summer mission of re-reading the Wheel of Time series. Through no fault of her own the issue that raises its head more and more is that when she was writing these reviews two of the final three books were being released. Expectations are being expressed about upcoming reunions and solutions that I know in some cases were never resolved, which is frustrating all over again. Again, not her fault, as the re-re-read was cancelled partway through 'The Fires of Heaven'.

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review 2018-08-06 01:11
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
The Red Address Book - Sofia Lundberg

I'll bend my rule about posting reviews for unreleased books as this 'The Red Address Book' has had considerable success in Europe even if the American edition won't be released for some time.

 

Sofia Lundberg's novel follows 96-year-old Doris as she remembers the people who have come and gone in her life, all of the crossed out names in the address book given to her by her father on her last birthday at home. Her only living relative is a grand niece Jennifer and Jennifer's children in America and Doris depends on their weekly Skype calls.

 

I can't say how accurate of a translation this is, but it read smoothly and had a light, easy to read style throughout. Doris is an independent woman, but a recent injury has left her vulnerable and the indignities attached to being dependent on visiting nurses and facing pressure to give up her home are well illustrated.

 

The novel picks up steam as the narrative picks out a few key people in Doris' address book - a book full of names, the majority of which are crossed out and marked 'deceased'. The conceit of the address book is a good one, but many readers will have problems with how, er, eventful Doris' life turns out to be. It isn't enough that she's lived a long life and taken care of loved ones, she has lived more than anyone else has ever in the history of living. The events of her life become more far-fetched as the story goes on.

 

You may be looking at my high rating. The book can be problematic, narratively and with some objectionable plot elements, but I was willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story even with its issues. Sappy, but satisfying.

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